Postdoc Marseille

Postdoctoral fellowship (OT-Med, Aix-Marseille University, France) : Adaptation to Environmental Change : A Social Learning Process
We are looking for a candidate for a post doctoral fellowship who will be part of a project (AMENOPHYS) devoted to analysing the adaptation of societies and economies to their changing environment particularly with reference to the Mediterranean and North African areas. The candidate would be expected to collaborate in the development of models to explain how societies arrive at their collective “decisions” to change their activities, particularly those which are directly related to the environment such as agriculture. An approach that interests the researchers in our group is that of agent-based computational modelling (ABM). Ideally, we would like someone who also has some background in archaeology and who is familiar with the treatment of archaeological evidence. The type of approach which is of particular interest of us is that employed by Axtell and his co-authors in analysing the population growth and subsequent collapse of the Kenta Anastasia in the Long House Valley in the West of the U.S.A. Among the specific questions we wish to analyse are:
(i) The way in which change emerges both in terms of the nature of the activities and their location. In particular how are the collective decision reached to achieve these changes? How does a society comes to the collective decision that it is no longer possible to remain in a particular location ?
(ii) Is there a relationship between the hierarchical organization of societies and their capacity to adapt ?
(iii) What can we learn from the archaeological evidence showing that drought generated by climate change may explain both the decline of palace economies shifting to isolated villages and the emergence of state level societies from nomadic populations ?
(iv) To what extent can trade with other regions offset the losses suffered in the production of certain crops as a result of climatic change ?
The project will be undertaken in collaboration with the scientists who make up the OT-Med group and some of the external collaborators in the AMENOPHYS project such as David Kaniewski from Toulouse and archaeologists from the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme in Aixen-Provence.
This will be essentially an interdisciplinary project, since economists and researchers from other disciplines, climatologists, paleo-ecologists and archeologists will be involved.
On the empirical side there will be cooperation with the economics laboratory at the Scuola Superiore Sant Anna in Pisa who have specialists working on social adaptation to major changes in the environment and in particular with Giorgio Fagiolo and with the Catastrophic Risk group at Columbia where Graciela Chichilnisky one of the architects of the Kyoto agreements has accepted
to collaborate.
CV and motivation letter have to be sent to [email protected], as well as additional
information request before the 31st August 2014.
For the post-docs, the fellowship is attributed for one year, starting 1st November or later. An extension of 6 or 12 months will be possible if the first year results are positively evaluated, the minimum requirements being results of high level in agreement with the scientific themes of OTMed and ready for publication. The extension decision will be done on the basis of an interview
conducted by the management board of OT-Med

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